Extract:

Celia’s mum’s rat – David Gaffney

was alone, away from home, and bored, so I lay on the hotel bed and scrolled through the names in my mobile phone. It was then I came across the strange entry. Celia’s mum’s rat.

    I had no idea Celia’s mother owned a rat. And if Celia’s mother owned a rat, why had she felt the need to buy it a mobile phone? And why had I at some point needed the rat’s number, and needed it frequently enough to enter it into the phone’s memory? Or, rather, felt a need to know that if the rat called, I would know who it was. Maybe at some point I had decided to avoid the rat’s calls or at least wanted time to prepare an excuse as to why I wouldn’t be able to assist the rat. Yet surely, if Celia’s mum’s rat were important enough to own its own phone, the rat would have a name? After all, we didn’t call Celia’s mum’s boyfriend, Celia’s mum’s boyfriend. We called him Raymond. 

Table of Contents

Introduction – Jane Feaver v

The Voice, the Fish Woman and the Coconut Girlie – Joel Willans 1

Sammy – Nicholas Hogg 7

Bhai and the Manager – Anita Sivakumaran 17

My Flirtation with Karoshi – Michael Owen Fisher 29

Rip-off – Rachel Bentham 35

A Mountain Fastness – Henry Shukman 41

Replacing the towers with rainbows + other short tales – David Gaffney 53

Breaking Taboos – Kachi A. Ozumba 63

Teeth – Krishan Coupland 75

A Milking Lesson – Philippa de Burlet 81

The Conservator – Anna Lunk 89

Introducing Kendra – Gemma Rutter 93

My cousin who could catch flies and tickle fish with his bare hands – Mark Czanik 101

Little Things – Eleanor Knight 113

Reef – Jane Draycott 119

Yusef – Graham Mort 125

The Dahlia Bed – Helen Dunmore 139

Contributors 145